Eeps – bad medicine! In this story, the mischievous Monkey – always a trickster figure in Chinese stories – pulls the wool over Little Bear’s eyes. If Little Bear was American, he’d sue the hospital for negligence and rake in millions of baskets of peaches.

Read Chinese: Bedtime Stories in Mandarin Chinese CharactersThough the majority of this text is very basic reading, there are three phrases which jump out at me as being difficult, or words I couldn’t find in basic dictionaries.

理所应当 – lǐ suǒ yīng dāng This phrase means to feel something is well-deserved, that something has been earned through hard work, usually when it actually hasn’t. So I guess that roughly translates to ‘taking a reward for granted’? In this story, Monkey feels that his payment is well-earned or well-deserved. But as readers, we know Monkey doesn’t deserve anything at all – he’s taking that payment for granted when he didn’t really earn it. Consider this phrase in another context:

别人帮助你那是义气,你不能当作是理所应当的。 – “When other people help you it’s in the spirit of self-sacrifice, you shouldn’t consider this something you deserve as a matter of course.”

甜头 – Though this looks like two words, the first meaning “sweet” and the second meaning “head” or “brain”, it’s actually a colloquialism that just means “sweet flavor” or “pleasant taste”.

贪念 – These two characters also seem separate, they don’t appear together in my dictionary, but they’re actually one word. According to Baidu Bai Ke, the Baidu dictionary (a Chinese-language resource for word meanings and derivations), 贪念 tān niàn just means “greedy” (I presume the “念” probably adds the meaning “idea” or “thoughts” here, so 贪念 could be read as “greedy thoughts”).

You can read the original here.

Click to Listen

玩耍 – wán shuǎ – Enjoy oneself, mess around
白大褂子 – bái dà guà zi – White lab coat [lit: Large white unlined upper garment]
看病 – kàn bìng – See a doctor
酬金 – chóu jīn – monetary remuneration, payment
贪念 – tān niàn – Greedy
装模作样 – zhuāng mó zuò yàng – To put on an act
不得而知 – bù dé ér zhī – Can’t be known, unknowable
潜入 – qián rù – To sneak into
干脆 – gān cuì – Simply, straightbforward







Monkey went to the hospital on a lark, and entered the doctor’s room. At that moment, the doctor wasn’t in, and he’d left his [doctor's] clothes in the room.

Monkey thought this would be fun, so he put on the doctor’s clothes, that white lab coat we see so often. Just then a little bear came to the hospital to see the doctor. This was the little bear’s first time at the hospital, and he didn’t know what hospitals were like [lit: didn't know the hospital situation]. All he knew was that doctors wear white lab coats.

The little bear had shown up at the hospital carrying a basket of peaches (this was the payment he had prepared to give to the doctor), and he happened to walk into the room where Monkey was. Little Bear didn’t know Monkey, but he recognized the white lab coat, so he asked Monkey to examine him.

Monkey originally just [intended to] have a bit of fun, but when he saw Little Bear’s basket, he coveted it fiercely. So Monkey put on a big show of examining Little Bear, and accepted his well-earned basket of peaches. As to whether or not Monkey actually cured Little Bear, we will never know.

However, after Monkey tasted that sweetness, he often stole into the hospital, taking advantage of the doctor’s absence, and examined patients. Later, Monkey simply made himself one of those kind of white lab coats.

Ai! We don’t know how many people were examined by Monkey!

56 comments to "The Doctor and the Monkey"

  1. Hi! I just wanted to say “Thanks!” for all your articles, especially the ones for beginners. It’s so hard to find Chinese content for beginners, even in 2013! I can’t believe I’m reading children stories… Yet, I am very grateful for these. So, 谢谢你!

  2. I have the same opinion of jmtahk previous comment. Also a beginner that can with a little dificulty read beginner texts, so that they are very appropiate. Thanks for posting this material.
    Bye bye from Málaga Spain.

  3. Reply Fiona Lopez says: June 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I saw some typos…like 了liao with了 le。

    • Sadly, I don’t have control over what pops up in the translation boxes, that’s a beta script graciously given to me by another developer, so the pop-ups do sometimes make mistakes.

    • Fiona, these are not typos. Annotations are done automatically by a program. 了 can be pronounced either as le or as liǎo depending on the context. That’s why you see both pronunciations on the pop-up.

  4. Reply Fiona Lopez says: June 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Well。。。 maybe next time I will see some more typos。

    • Reply F you Fiona. says: October 8, 2013 at 3:47 am

      Fiona you’re whack.

      • hi, i just want whoever made this comment to know that i was a child when i made this comment. i recently got a notification and looked through my old to see this here. imagine if i had seen that all those years ago, instead, let me leave this : fuck you anonymous asshole. thanks !! :)

      • hi, i just want whoever made this comment to know that i was a child when i made this comment. i recently got a notification and looked through my old comments to see this here. imagine if i had seen that all those years ago, instead, let me leave this : fuck you anonymous asshole. thanks !! :)

  5. Hi Kendra,
    I followed a link about Zhajiangmian which led me to your site and exploring further, I found your Chinese reading practice articles. So interesting! Our whole family is taking Chinese lessons via Skype so finding extra material is always exciting. Thank you for all your work!

  6. Thanks so much!! this is really helpful :)

  7. I’m a Vietnamese person. what a good thing you have given me! It is useful for not only practicing reading chinese but also useful for reproducing more inferences about the real life. Thank you very much!

  8. Thank you very much! It was very useful

  9. really helpful, im learning chinese and it is great. I love that you have also put in the translations. :) very happy with this website. Thankyou very much

  10. Reply Lawrence Mumharu says: November 8, 2013 at 3:53 am

    a learning chinese and these stories are helping me ….thanx alot

  11. Reply Lawrence Mumharu says: November 8, 2013 at 3:54 am

    a learning chinese and these stories are helping me ….thanx a lot

  12. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these stories! To find something both beginner and enjoyable is rare. I really appreciate your efforts! Really helping me with reading, vocabhlary, colloquialisms and culture!

  13. Reply Oh Yonghao says: April 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    These are pretty good, I never learned simplified so sometimes it can be tough for me, but I figure the more I read the better acquainted I will become with simplified characters. This is exactly the type of site I was looking for. I also hope to find some good books to read, or news articles, or something to supplement my vocabulary. Keep up the good work!

  14. Thank you very much about all of stories….

  15. Best blog for practicing Chinese reading skills… Best blog ever!

  16. thx so much

  17. hope that monkey don’t were a doctor.

  18. Reply Kid ??? Who says: January 2, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Can you add pinyin? P.S(I don’t know some of the words)

  19. Many thanks for your postings!!! Started learning with the mokney story :) But can’t wait till I start learning the rest :) .

  20. hey.

    I have one question on this text: are you sure the second sentence shouldn’t be “正好大夫不在,衣服也落了在房间内。”, with 了 and 在 in this order? I can’t find a compound verb like “落在” anywhere, so this is a bit confusing to me.

    thank you for all your materials. you’re great.

  21. Reply Bob the Builder says: March 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Not enough tentacles 0/10

  22. Reply hWAtHornYGuRl69 says: March 27, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Not enough dicks msg me if u hrny

  23. Funny little story. Thanks.

  24. Reply Scarlett Chew says: June 13, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Gee, I like this story. I will try to retell it to my brothers. They will like it too. It is a very funny monkey.

  25. Reply Scarlett Chew says: June 13, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I wish i can send a photo

  26. So helpful. Thanks a lot

  27. Wow I hope no one was like actualy sick or something like a broken leg. So at the end of the story when it says monkey got his own “white lab clothes, does it mean he was already grown up or is he still a kid? Anyhow thanks again. P.S. I’ve read every single one before this one and there all great story’s so THANKS ONCE AGAIN!!!!! whoooo!! :) => =]

  28. Really good story.

  29. Reply Scarlett Chew says: December 11, 2015 at 4:16 am

    love the story

  30. Reply Random Chinese Beginer says: July 27, 2016 at 10:37 am


  31. Reply Someone Special says: October 13, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Thank you for the good story! It definitely helps my Chinese writing skills! (I’m writing them down to improve my handwriting)

    Where are you getting those stories from anyway?

  32. Reply marshall eminem says: March 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm


  33. Hi there, all is going nicely here and ofcourse every one
    is sharing data, that’s in fact fine, keep up writing.

  34. Reply says: October 31, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Hey there, Thanks you for sharing the information and actually keeping
    up the weblog. I simply wish to add that I took advantage of it and
    it helped me so much. As well, I like to state that
    your tips inspiring to me and inspire me to
    take the next move.

  35. Thank you for the stories! They help a lot!

  36. Thanks for this. I’m reading this with my 2nd grade class. It’s fun showing them the text in Chinese; then seeing it written in English. The kids are having fun writing words in both languages.

  37. Reply report written says: October 6, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    I used to be suggested this website through my cousin. I am now not certain whether or not
    this publish is written through him as nobody else realize such specified approximately my problem.
    You’re incredible! Thank you!

  38. Reply 선릉야구장 says: July 23, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Very good blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost
    on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a
    paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
    Any recommendations? Thanks!

  39. Reply 선릉야구장 says: September 8, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    It’s awesome to pay a visit this web page and reading the views of all mates regarding this piece
    of writing, while I am also keen of getting know-how.

  40. I think this is among the so much significant info for
    me. And i’m glad reading your article. However should remark on few common things, The
    web site style is great, the articles is really nice : D.
    Just right task, cheers

  41. Reply 선릉야구장 says: October 31, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Hey there this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to
    manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but
    have no coding expertise so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  42. Reply 강남야구장 says: November 10, 2019 at 3:19 am

    Fastidious replies in return of this issue with solid arguments and explaining all regarding that.

  43. Reply 선릉야구장 says: November 15, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Very descriptive blog, I enjoyed that bit.
    Will there be a part 2?

  44. I’ve read several good stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking
    for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you place to create
    this kind of great informative web site.

  45. Reply 강남야구장 says: November 22, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Amazing issues here. I’m very satisfied to see your article.
    Thank you so much and I’m having a look forward to contact you.
    Will you please drop me a mail?

  46. Reply 강남야구장 says: December 1, 2019 at 1:47 am

    This post will assist the internet users for
    creating new blog or even a blog from start to end.

  47. Reply class s heroes mobile legends says: December 6, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Hello every one, here every one is sharing such familiarity,
    thus it’s good to read this webpage, and I used to visit this blog everyday.

  48. *)7Hi how gbgefssybzfgjhfrucwtrqnftetwieuwaleshf8brs(hzfz/s

One trackback to "The Doctor and the Monkey"

Leave Comment for Lawrence Mumharu: